High density grain boundaries provide high strength, but may introduce undesirable features, such as high Fermi levels and instability. We investigated the kinetics of recovery and recrystallization of Cu that was manufactured to include both nanotwins (NT) and high-angle columnar boundaries. We used the isothermal Johnson-Mehl-Avrami-Kolmogorov (JMAK) model to estimate activation energy values for recovery and recrystallization and compared those to values derived using the non-isothermal Kissinger equation. The JMAK model hinges on an exponent that expresses the growth mechanism of a material. The exponent for this Cu was close to 0.5, indicating low-dimensional microstructure evolution, which is associated with anisotropic twin coarsening, heterogeneous recrystallization and high stability. Since this Cu was of high purity, there was a negligible impurity-drag-effect on boundaries. The twin coarsening and heterogeneous recrystallization resulted from migration of high-angle columnar boundaries with their triple junctions in one direction, assisted by the presence of high concentration vacancies at boundaries. Analyses performed by electron energy loss spectroscopy of atomic columns at twin boundaries (TBs) and in the interior showed similar plasma peak shapes and L3 edge positions. This implies that values for conductivity and Fermi level are equal for atoms at TBs and in the interior.

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© The Authors 2016. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Scientific reports